What would be your response if someone told you that you smell like Jesus? Would you think that person odd? Would have to seek clarification? Would you nervously thank him or her, look at your watch and hurry away? Or would you understand the tremendous compliment that had just been paid to you?
This may seem a funny topic, but yesterday in church our Minister of Discipleship and Evangelism Pete Belmain was preaching on “What It Means Not to Waste Your Life” and I was struck by something he mentioned. His fourth point was a life that is selflessly devoted to Jesus results in love-driven conduct. He was preaching from the familiar passage of Mary anointing Jesus with expensive spikenard. In John 12: 3 we read:
“Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.”
Brother Pete returned to this verse while speaking on his fourth point and reminded us that the scent of the expensive oil would have been apparent to passers-by of Simon the leper’s home. However, Mary would have had this scent on her everywhere she went, as would Jesus. This meant she smelled like Jesus.
Speaking of odors, pleasant or otherwise, in the same sentence as our Lord Jesus may seem, well, discomforting or even blasphemous. Nevertheless, the Bible is replete with instances of references to the aroma of God:
“You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions. All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made You glad.” (Psalm 45:7-8)
Scent was an important part of ancient Near Eastern life; in fact it could mean the difference between life and death. Pleasing aromas meant a safe place both physically and spiritually. It was believed that pleasing odors satiated the “gods”, including the one true God. In His Noahic Covenant, we read that God was pleased with the aroma of Noah’s sacrifice:
“Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.’” (Genesis 8:20-21)
Did you know that as a Christian you should be emitting a certain odor? What is it that a Christian should smell like? A Christian should smell like eternal life. What does that smell like? I have no idea other than my conduct should be so appealing to others that my life attracts them to want to know what it is in my life that is obviously different than theirs.
I should attract people by my conduct. Unfortunately I have been guilty, and all too often many Christians too, of repelling lost souls from coming to church and ultimately Christ. That should not be!
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
I want my conduct to be so selflessly devoted to Jesus that my aroma attracts others to Him.
And when I fail, may I be washed in the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins, made white as snow, attracting those around me in need of a Savior.
I want to smell like Jesus.
What do you smell like?
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Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers